Are you looking for 2017’s breakout TV show? Have you cultivated a reputation amongst your friends as the TV obsessive?
Game of Thrones is going to be massive again in 2017, but everyone knows about that show already. If you want to look really smart you need to get ahead of the pack; sniff out what’s an undiscovered masterpiece and what’s a turd passing itself off as TV.
That sounds like a lot of effort though, so we’ve compiled a shortlist for you.
Not every show on this list will be a hit. Some will no doubt suck, others will be brilliant and yet ignored by popular culture. One or two, though, will be break out hits. We’re not promising you the next Walking Dead, but in six months time you’ll be able to smugly remind your friends who was on the bandwagon first. Here goes.
1. American Gods
Based on the acclaimed book by Neil Gaiman, American Gods is being promoted hard by the Starz network. Whether it’s the sort of thing that will attract a wide audience feels like an open question. Its conceit, that gods and mythological beasts live among us in human form thanks to people’s belief in them, has a lot of mileage in it. There’s a twist though. As America changes, its popular culture creates new gods. The 100’s Ricky Whittle stars as a former convict sucked into the world of the American Gods after the death of his wife.
2. Santa Clarita Diet
This Netflix series is unlikely to be a smash hit, but depending on what it has up its sleeve, it could be an awards contender. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant are married realtors with a teenage daughter – so far, so snore, right? Who cares about rich white people and their ‘existential’ crises anymore? There’s a handful of things that give me hope for this one, though. Firstly, it’s advertised as a dark comedy. Next, we’re told Barrymore’s character is set to go through a ‘dramatic change’, which I guess will be the driving force of the series. Finally, the teenage daughter I mentioned will be played by Liv Hewson, star of the fantastic 2016 miniseries Dramaworld.
3. Still Star-Crossed
A TV melodrama about what happens in Verona after the end of Romeo and Juliet? That might just be the most CW thing it’s possible to make. How has it taken this long? And, when you think about it, what did happen between the Montagues and Capulets after Romeo and Juliet offed themselves? Still Star-Crossed’s answer seems centre on Juliet’s cousin Rosaline, who winds up in a mutually disliked betrothal to Romeo’s best mate Benvolio in an attempt to restore peace. It has potential, but it might err a little too much into the contrived. Keep an eye on it anyhow.
Who do you want as the lead in your Victorian revenge saga about an adventurer who returns from Africa to punish the people who killed his father? If Tom Hardy is your answer then I’ve got some super good news. Taboo is a gritty mini-series which could be either really good or all self-important bluster. With Peaky Blinders creator Stephen Knight and legendary director Ridley Scott involved, there’s reason to think the former. I’m always down for those tall Victorian hats and Tom Hardy going way overboard trying to embody his character, too. Just know that this might not be as sure a thing as people think.
5. Big Little Lies
This HBO drama might escape your notice until you check who’s involved. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley headline as a trio of mothers who strike up a fast friendship. Based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty, we’re getting this adaptation from David E. Kelley, creator of Ally McBeal and Boston Legal. Based on the novel, expect a mix of humour and more serious subject matter. And I mean serious. Big Little Lies shines a light on some uncomfortable subject matter in places.
6. The Mick
That The Mick’s first episode has been so puzzlingly dumped on New Year’s Day does not bode well for the series. Which is a shame, because it’s got a lot of promise. Starring Kaitlin Olson (AKA Dee from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as a woman who’s forced to look after the spoiled kids of her rich sister, who has had to flee the country due to some crimes. This is funny because Olson’s character here, Mickenzie, is basically the same as Dee from It’s Always Sunny. Which is to say, an unstoppable human trainwreck.
7. Z: The Beginning of Everything
The first episode of this has been sitting on Amazon Prime for a while now. It’s all about Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of renowned American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. I know less than a post-it-note’s worth about either, but both were important literary figures in the 1920s and 30s. The series appears to draw heavily from Zelda’s time as part of the Flapper subculture and the 20s jazz scene. Also, Zelda is portrayed here by Christina Ricci, a.k.a every Gen-Xer’s version of Wednesday Adams. The period sets and costumes all look lavish, and Ricci has gone all in on portraying Zelda, so don’t be surprised if it gets a lot of buzz.
8. Time After Time
You and I need to talk about Time After Time, because its existence is astounding. It’s a show about pioneering science fiction writer H.G Wells, writer of The Time Machine, inventing an actual time machine. Which is then stolen by his best friend, who turns out to be Jack the Ripper. Oh, and they both travel to the present day to do battle, for some reason. That’s absurd. It sounds like teenaged fan fiction, but I can’t help myself, I’m desperate to watch it. Even if this one is awful, it will still be amazing.